Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Vanity Culture_’s latest single, "Bloodletting," is a clear example of the affinity between synthwave and metal. Many synthwavers are heavily influenced by metal and, in the case of Bloodletting, both the influence and the metal are very heavy indeed. This is not a track for auditory shrinking violets, but that very weight is what makes it an interesting listen.
The track starts out with synths that drift over a crushingly heavy bass pulsation. The guitar begins to play a threatening melody that is joined by thudding percussion over top of that throbbing bass that has almost endless seeming depth to it. A thick, dense slab of guitar batters its way into the track. It’s a wall of sound that weaves into the hard, heavy background and only increases the intensity of the music.
Vanity Culture_’s singer snarls, grates and growls over that thick sound. There’s sufficient bite and aggression in the delivery to complement the darkness of the lyrics that speak of the exclusion of others to turn inwards to a “personal hell.” As the singer growls, “You care for no one, only memories of neglect” the words are given weight by that aggressive growl. The song continues, warning that once set on that path there’s no turning back and “you can’t resist any more, the door has closed.”
The guitar solo that comes into the track churns and cries out like a mad, wounded thing. There’s a certain chant-like quality to the vocals and the singer’s voice tears and shreds, full of aggression. Everything about this track is ferocious until it breaks slowly, more softly at tthe end. The guitar fading out into that endless bass and briefly delicate synth sounds. Having a little bit of a pause just lets the power of the track have time to fully sink in.
For me, the best part about "Bloodletting" is the unabashed, in your face nature of it. It delivers with aggression, power and that incredible wall of bass that thunders, rumbles and just feels like a rockslide bearing down on you. Topping it off are strong lyrics that punch home a message to the listener. Vanity Culture_ does seem to know how to make synthmetal that doesn’t apologize to anyone.